The must-see exhibitions of 2012

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

© David Hockney, photo by Jonathan Wilkinson

WGSN-homebuildlife rounds up the best exhibitions around the world in 2012 - a taster here includes London colour inspiration provided by David Hockney, an exploration of dust as material in New York, a study of illusion in Paris, and Helsinki's exhibition program during its year as World Design Capital. (Subscribers, read the full report here).

David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture

Although this exhibition at London's Royal Academy will span 50 years of Hockney's career, it is perhaps his more recent works that will prove most interesting from a colour perspective. Deep, saturated hues of violet, forest green and yolk yellow bring an amped-up sense of hyper-realism to his landscapes, making them feel unnatural and other-worldly. Also on show will be Hockney's series of iPad drawings and video works. The exhibition runs from 21 January to 9 April 2012.

Flora by Phoebe Cummings (2010); photo by Sylvain Deleu

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design 

Continuing its investigation into the use of subversive and alternative materials in design, MAD Museum New York looks at artists and designers who work with dust, ash, sand and dirt. Exploring disintegration, decay, loss and the ephemeral nature of art, the exhibition takes on a transient feel with dust chandeliers created by Jodie Carey and ash sculptures by Zhang Huan among the fragile and fleeting works on display. The show runs 14 February - 12 August.

Armoire sur­réa­liste by Marcel Jean, image courtesy of Les Arts Decoratifs © DR
Trompe-l'oeil: Limitations, Pastiches and Other Illusions

Les Arts Decoratifs examines the art of illusion with an exhibition to be held in its Study Gallery. Looking at how artists and designers have used tromp l'oeil to create visual tricks and pastiches, the collection will begin by examining the roots of the trend in the 18th century when wigs, bustles and drapery were first employed to create illusions. Opening 2 February 2012, the exhibition runs until 15 November 2013.

Design Museum, Helsinki
Design 12

In the year that Helsinki celebrates holding the World Design Capital title, it is fitting that the city's Design Museum will host a series of exhibitions and events putting the spotlight on future creative forces, as well as celebrating the Finnish design legacy. The line-up of events will include a look at new product innovators, retrospectives from some of Finland's biggest design collectives (including Helsinki youth culture exports, CTRL) and an exhibition of new and seminal work by members of the Fiskars Cooperative.